International Data Protection

International Research Studies and Your Personal Information

Vanderbilt University Medical Center ("VUMC") is committed to the highest ethical standards and robust protections for individuals participating in VUMC research studies.  VUMC is conducting research in over 60 different countries.  VUMC endeavors to adhere to the applicable privacy regulations in each country, including rules about transferring personal information to the United States.

What we collect

VUMC's Institutional Review Board ("IRB") reviews the protections for individuals and the types of data to be collected in any human research study.  The IRB review occurs before the launch of the project.  You may read the full range of IRB policies and procedures here  

As a prospective participant or enrollee in a research study you will have received a notice and informed consent form that details the types of personal information collected and processed in the study.  This notice and consent form is referred to as the "ICF".  Please consult the ICF for the particulars of the personal information collected about you.

How we protect your personal information, your rights, and how to contact us

The ICF details the protections for the personal information VUMC processes.

The rights you may have in your personal information are also detailed in the ICF and your national laws.  To honor individuals' rights in their personal information, VUMC has standardized on internationally accepted privacy principles, including the following fairness principles:

  • Individuals should be provided notice,
  • Choice should be offered and consent required,
  • Individuals should be able to access and alter their data,
  • Data should be accurate and secure, and
  • Data should be used only for the purpose it is collected.

These principles are the minimum guarantees.  Your national law may provide different or stricter requirements to which VUMC adheres.

VUMC recognizes that many jurisdictions require the appointment of a Data Protection Officer ("DPO") to monitor and provide guidance when processing "special data".  Special data includes the processing of information related to health, genetics, race, and sexuality, among other types of information.

To that end, VUMC has appointed a data protection officer to monitor and provide guidance with respect to the protections for personal information in research studies.  If you have any questions or complaints about how VUMC processes your personal information, please contact the persons identified in the ICF or the DPO at

You may also contact our Article 27 representative in the EU and the UK with any questions about our processing of personal information.  Please send inquiries to DataRep at